It’s been nearly four decades since multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter Dianne Swann first made her name in Kiwi music, since featuring with various bands and productions notably including When The Cat’s Away, The Julie Dolphin, and The Bads. Swann has just released her debut solo album, ‘The War on Peace of Mind’, an album that impacts and resonates.
The record’s first single, Show Your Heart, suggested the album was heading in an alt-country direction, similar to most of Swann’s work with The Bads, but that was a sleight of hand. ‘The War on Peace of Mind’ is consistent, timeless and genre-less, bearing the mark of a gifted songwriter. Considering Swann’s musical contributions and output over the last 30-something years, this is no surprise.
Opening track These Are The Days stands out boldly and lays out Swann’s statement of intent – a swaggering riff, a classic rock vibe, and a timely lyric about the consequences of mistreating Mother Earth.
‘The War on Peace of Mind’ regularly plays with tonal light and shade over its LP-like eight song duration. Reel You In is beautifully seductive with hints of darkness within, and Losing the War on Peace of Mind, while melodically lively and upbeat, speaks of uncertainty.
These are contrasted by the closing track, Rare Good Feeling, where the sheer optimism comes through in both the music and the lyrics. Swann produced the album, with Tom Broome on engineering duties, a rhythm section of Chris O’Connor and Ben King, plus a select group of talented vocalists and multi-instrumentalists, including Sandy Mill, Dave Khan and inevitably Brett Adams, her partner in The Bads, all of whom have helped craft a rich, wonderful album.
‘The War on Peace of Mind’ pushes Swann and her talents front and centre, and is an album to return to repeatedly.